Recognizing a Faulty Welfare System by Educating the People of Our Society
As a society we are lacking the education needed to fully understand the welfare system. This naivety about the welfare system has caused it to become the least effective assistance program designed for the people of our society. Instead we have found it easier to generalize that the system is only for people who are lazy and choose not to work and therefore causing us to neglect the system. According to an article written by Elizabeth Anderson, “Survey research shows that most welfare recipients endorse the work ethic.” (2004) I know what you are thinking, how does a valued work ethic play a role if a ...view middle of the document...
Although this new law clarified who the expected beneficiaries were it did not address the flaws of the previous system. So in the same year (1996) The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act for welfare reform was legislated.
This bill contains strong work requirements, a performance bonus to reward states for moving welfare recipients into jobs, state maintenance of effort requirements, comprehensive child support enforcement, and supports for families moving from welfare to work—including increased funding for child care and guaranteed medical coverage. (The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, ¶ 1)
This act placed the main responsibility of welfare reform in the states hands. This task was eagerly accepted as the states had been actively trying new methods even before President Clinton signed the bill. Some may argue that all of the information provided here is reasonable. Without the details it seems that the reform that has taken place thus far would inevitably lead to a positive outcome. Has it? I defend the position that The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act was not a step towards reform instead it was useless plan that only leads to more problems. With that I move on with the next step in our welfare lesson.
As with most new and untested systems there are defects with the reform plans put in place. For the most part these flaws have received little or no attention from Congress. The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act resulted in a divided society by allowing the possibility of 50 different ways to modify and utilize the welfare system. Although each state is required to operate on the foundation of the welfare system provided by the federal government it is agreed that they can enforce modifications as defined by the individual state. For example, according to Brian Kennedy in his article The Welfare Paradise,
Wisconsin has demonstrated the success of real reform: supplying cash benefits only in direct proportion to the number of hours recipient’s show up for work. Those who do not show up at all get no cash or food stamps at all. However, in California even the very worst welfare scofflaws will have their checks reduced, on average, by only $109 a month-that is, less than 25 percent. (1997)
This clearly shows that the state you live in determines the amount of assistance you will receive if needed. How can we promote a welfare-to-work system if we allow recipients different privileges based on where they live? We must realize that the current message we are delivering is that those who are headed towards financially desperate times should quickly move to California where they will receive higher wages for less work. As exaggerated as this may sound it isn’t far from reality. Consider for a moment the number of single mothers in our communities. With the high percentage of single...